Halloween

I don’t celebrate halloween. I’ve heard all of the excuses from people who claim it’s harmless fun and I actually used to be a part of it, but when I really got serious about honoring God, I realized that this is definitely not harmless fun.  It has its consequence.

Why isn’t it harmless? What’s wrong with dressing up as your favorite character (scary or not) and visiting the neighborhoods with anticipation of collecting free candy? What’s wrong with paying to go to a “haunted house” to support a charity for the thrill of a quick scare? What’s wrong with going to the local church’s “trunk or treat” to make sure kids can have fun and be assured that they get candy that’s safe to eat? The one and only problem with all of it is that none of it honors God. None of the activities surrounding halloween promotes Christlike behavior.

The fact that halloween originated as a festival for harvest but also to ward off deceased souls that have risen to wreak havoc on the people with ruining crops or bringing sickness is actually the biggest reason for me to not celebrate. Dressing up was part of the ritual because they celtics believed the masks would keep the spirits happy. Even more disturbing is the fact that the practice of trick or treating evolved from the practice of wassailing on “Hallowmas” before All Soul’s Day, where folks would go door to door to pray for lost souls in exchange for food. Trick or treat is just the opposite. It’s “give me a treat or I will vandalize your house.” Really? We went from praying to threatening. How does that honor God?

The devilish symbols that surround halloween comes from the prevalence of bats when the bonfires were lit by the during their ritual of celebrating the harvest and warding off the spirits who revisited earth one October 31. The fact is, spirits can invade anytime they are welcomed and the only force that will ward off evil is the holiness of Christ. You can’t find that in a fire or in a costume or in a bag of candy.

While most of the American culture doesn’t realize the entire history of halloween, the evidence of it’s origins is still pretty obvious. If a professing Christian sees no problem with celebrating this day in this way, then this Christian has not entirely devoted himself to honoring God, the greatest Spirit of them all. Making the decision to be a Christian is not an easy one and should never be taken lightly. Nor should our lifestyles reflect anything but that decision once we have made it because Christ sacrificed Himself to save us out of His undying love for us, and we are in turn to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:36)

When we commit to this, we are also agreeing that we are not of this world even while we live in it. We are believing that God has given us the ability to honor Him while we live in this world and He has given us the power  to refuse to be influenced by the world but to live holy as He is holy. The problem is, I don’t believe most of us really believe that and we capitulate to the pressures of everyone else, Christian or not. We have the ability to live the way God expects us to live and to do with with joy. I joyfully don’t celebrate halloween because greater is He that is in me than he who is in the world.

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